With the original #GirlBoss Sophia Amuroso at the helm, I could rest easy knowing that the brand’s picks would always be on-trend.
But Amoruso stepped down as the company’s CEO back in 2015 and, late last year, we got word that our beloved Nasty brand was quickly going under, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Trust me when I say, no one was more bummed than I was. At least a quarter of my wardrobe bears the brand’s label! There was SOME light at the end of the tunnel, however: The site boasted a killer 70-percent-off sale as part of its last hurrah before it was to be taken over by new management on February 28. Nasty Gal was acquired by UK retailer BooHoo for a cool $20 million, giving Nasty Gals (myself included) everywhere hope that their favorite fashion fix could still be a reality.
My hopes were quickly dashed, however, once I received my first order under new management. Having ordered the Hazel Choker Tee for what seemed like a steal at $36, I was pretty excited to get my goods. That is, until a week later, when my package arrived containing… a completely different dress than the one I ordered.
While the style of the Kayla Graphic Shirt dress (also $36) I received was kinda similar to the one I had actually ordered, I wasn’t digging the wild cutout at the shoulder that appeared like it would make wearing a bra next to impossible. I could easily discern how the mix-up had occurred, as the tag on the dress in the bag I clutched bore the name of the original item I had wanted — the Hazel Choker Tee — but the item was most definitely not what I had expected.
After a quick check online, I saw that my beloved Hazel dress was going fast: In fact, there was only one left in stock of my size on the site, sparking my sense of urgency. I figured I’d better call right away to get an exchange under way, so I went to contact the company. Except… there was no one to contact. Under the “customer care” section of the site was the usual lineup of categories, including shipping info, returns, size guide, T+C’s, and about cookies, but a “Contact Us” section was nowhere to be found.
The best I could find was a “US Hassle-Free Returns” section (which still stands), reading, “Simply return your items to the following address within 28 days of the date on your dispatch note. Please note that returns will be made at your own cost.”
Upon second glance, I happened to spy a “Contact Us” button at the bottom of my shipment email, but clicking it proved futile — it simply spun and spun. Being the resourceful, determined gal that I am, I refused to give up, taking to Google. A quick search of “Nasty Gal contact” yielded several methods of communication — a live chat (which was still “pending” for an agent long after I had given up and returned to my computer more than three hours later), a phone number of 855-627-8942 (which informed me that the Nasty Gal customer service line no longer existed), and an email, which, after typing out my formal complaint, refused to actually let me hit the “send” button (or if it did go through, there was no confirmation message or indication that it had worked).
I typed out my dilemma — for the fourth time now, between the chat, email, regular Twitter, and help Twitter — and after receiving a generic “Hey gal, we’ll get back to you,” the company eventually answered (with some urging) with this: “We’re so bummed to hear this. Unfortunately we are unable to provide replacements for incorrect items at the moment. Please return the item for a full refund — keep hold of the postage receipt in case of any issues and if there’s a charge we’ll refund the amount as the item is incorrect. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
Welp, that solved the problem of the return, but I still wanted the dress I had ordered — badly. I explained that while I was happy to re-order the original item, I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t receive an incorrect item again, as the tag of the dress I received had clearly been marked wrong in the warehouse. I received the following response: “We’ve contacted the warehouse to get this checked, however the order may be dispatched prior to the issue being investigated. You should receive the correct item, but if we mess up again, reach out and we’ll get the issue sorted. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
Okay, fine — the national nightmare was over (for now). Albeit for a few HOURS lost (over a $36 dress, no less), my shopping saga was donezo, and I could finally get on with my day, right? Wrong. So wrong.
The email I had previously sent apparently DID go through, and a customer service rep had gotten back to me with a totally different answer. “Unfortunately, we are still unable to view any previous Nasty Gal orders/accounts,” she wrote. “It seems that the management changeover is taking a bit longer than expected and we’re still trying to fine-tune some details. Don’t worry though, we are looking into this.”
Not wanting to waste the rep’s time (ha!) I explained that it had actually been taken care of; I was sending the dress back per instruction and had already ordered a new one. The rep then responded with a message that completely baffled me. “I am sorry for any inconvenience caused. Unfortunately, we would not be accepting any returns from orders placed before 28/02/2017. I understand how disappointing this is but it is due to the management changeover. Let us know if you have any other issues.”
Confused, I AGAIN attempted to explain that the item I received had been incorrect, and that I was merely sending it back for a refund, as I hadn’t purchased it to begin with. In response, I received this: “I apologize for any confusion but I was regarding to the original order (the incorrect item that you received). If you purchased this before 28/02/2017 we will not be able to accept this as a return. Apologies for the inconvenience caused. If you have any other queries please get in touch.”
What!? Now I was thoroughly confused, and frankly, a little PO-ed. If I sent the dress back, was I getting my money back per the Twitter rep or not? Double checking the date of my original order and finding it to have been March 4 (phew!), I figured I was in the clear, and let the rep know that my order had actually been placed AFTER the date she kept referring to, so my refund should be accepted. At this point, I fully expected her to give me the go-ahead to send the item back as previously directed. Instead, I more or less received the same message as above, informing me that Nasty Gal would not be taking returns for orders placed before 2/28 with the added line, “As you have already sent yours back, I have sent an enquiry to see what is happening with that. Please allow a few days for the relevant department to get back to me. As soon as they do, I will email you with an update.”
Was this girl reading my emails at all, or was I being sent form letters? I once more informed her that my order had been placed after the date of February 28, and that I hadn’t sent the dress back yet for fear at this point of not actually being refunded my money.
In response, I received an even MORE confusing message. “Thanks for getting in touch. I’m really sorry but we’re unable to confirm your query atm. NG has recently changed management and we’re still going through a massive changeover. Because of this, we’re still trying to fine-tune a few details. This means that we currently are unable to offer a resolve for your query so I have passed it on to the relevant department. I will be back in touch in a few days when I receive correspondence. We are really sorry for any inconvenience caused.” (That was on March 11. I’ve still yet to receive any “additional response.”)
Frustrated (and confused!) beyond belief, I took to the company’s Facebook page with a few expletives in mind, but I was absolutely SHOCKED at what I saw. Not only were others describing similar scenarios to my own, I also saw COUNTLESS additional complaints of orders not being delivered at all, returns not being processed after months on end, accounts with leftover credits having been closed without warning, tales of the 70-percent-off code not being applied to orders (a rather big deal, considering some of the site’s original prices were upwards of $1,000), and claims of theft and fraud. Basically, the works.
In fact, Nasty Gal’s own first post was an overarching response to the absolute flood of complaints they had been receiving, and one of their remarks looked kinda… familiar.
I could not believe my eyes. Was this a sick joke? It quickly became clear that I had stumbled upon something much bigger than myself and my $36 dress, and now I was enraged. I had already decided that between all the mixed messages I’d received I would rather just eat my purchase than deal with the hassle this was turning out to be. I didn’t want to risk potentially being given the run-around AGAIN over a refund of less than $50 (not to mention waste the money on shipping should things not pan out). Yet, I couldn’t help but think about what would have happened if I had placed my order prior to February 28, and spent a boatload in the process. How would I even begin to combat this and recoup my funds in a timely manner? Obviously, there were PLENTY of others that were dealing with these issues on a much larger scale, having spent far greater amounts than I in the good faith that they were getting some quality goods, and the thought made me both furious and positively sick.
The comments over on Instagram weren’t any better. “We are all sick of you, ‘Hey Gal-ing’ asking for our ‘deets’ and telling us to message you because you keep telling us all the same: You can’t access our accounts or track our orders, and you won’t take responsibility for lost orders, double charges, or the other plethora of issues customers have had before the changeover.”
Though the company’s only recommended course of action seemed to be filing a complaint with customers’ banks, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau on behalf of all of my fellow (former) “Nasty Gals,” requesting that the organization do a thorough investigation into the company’s new practices as desired resolution. I am also penning this piece in the hopes of saving others the headache (and lack of rightful funds!) that not only I, but other ladies underwent, all over a shared mutual love of edgy oversized t-shirt dresses, chokers, and the like.
And, should those options fail, there’s also the Federal Trade Commission, where you can file a complaint under the site’s “Internet services, online shopping, or computers” section on the lefthand side.
Looks like it’s time to get “Nasty,” ladies.
Have you experienced issues with the new Nasty Gal? Tell us over @BritandCo.
(Photos via Nasty Gal + Getty)